Warning: nerd stuff today. Even in the Product section. I was watching the Apple announcement while thumping along on the treadmill, marveling at the new tech. The treadmill was new tech too, once. It has a touchscreen that lets you access your Flipbook account! It has a connection for iPods! You know, the ones with long thin connectors, the ones they haven't sold in years. They went all in on the moment, and consequently everyone who's using them ignores the screen and looks at their phone or tablet. Sic transit techy mundi.

I can understand people being skeptical or indifferent to this new Apple gadget - there's such a great track record of that working out in the long run - but the knee-jerk dismissal is odd. I cannot possibly see the point! Ergo, I am smarter than the people who can! Okay.

  Deserves to be ridiculed. You might spare a little of that sentiment for someone who says it's designed to isolate you from your environment, when your environment is, in fact, visible.

Strap a screen to your face! As opposed to leaning over to tap out something on Twitter, which I guess they're doing now by staring at the sun and sending the letters by ESP. So you're constantly making money for tech companies. Warning: there's this thing called a BOOK, which requires you to devote your face to its low-tech screens, and you're constantly making money for publishing companies. Okay, not the most exact analogy. But you know what doesn't make money for tech companies? Making something no one wants or likes.

If they want it and like it, money is made.

The horror.

When I first put on a Meta Quest, I enjoyed the immersion in a new artificial environment. It was future-cool! My own holodeck! Let’s go to this Horizon Worlds place and meet people . . . ugh. Ugly, low-res, janky, legless. Plato’s Retreat for castrati. The entertainment rooms were boring, the movie theater was somewhat more cool, but I couldn’t get over the feeling of wearing a sweaty brick covered with marshmallow.

No device should make you feel relieved when you stop using it, but that’s how I always felt. Even after I’d sampled some of the interesting things - the ISS, a museum - I was grateful to take it off. But also the real world felt weird for a moment, or rather, I felt weird about the real world, as if I’d been cheating on someone who was really better than I deserved.

The Apple device is AR, not VR. You can see the real world through it. That’s the first thing, and the most important. Even better: you are not bent down looking at something, like a phone. It’s all there in front of you. Even better: only runs for two hours, so you won’t suffer too much immersion and disconnection from reality!

Okay, that was an Apple fan justification.

Well, you laugh now, but in seven years they’ll be as thin as regular glasses today, and will have a tiny green light at the top on both sides so other people know you’re using it, information you can use when approaching them. You'll walk past a restaurant and see the menu, walk through the mall, pass a store, and see a pair of pants in your size based on your previous purchases. You can enable Forestry Mode and see the names of the various trees as you hike. And so on.

None of this is necessary, of course, but when did that matter?








“I have slaughtered countless enemies over the years,” said new-age mellow centered Worf, “and have considered sending them to you, but was advised that that would be passive-aggressive.”

This heartfelt admission comes as the old crew of the Enterprise assembles in the conference room of the Titan, around a table, together for the first time in . . . how long? I could look it up. But it feels like the first time since the end of TNG, with “All Good Things.” Everyone, of course, is old, to varying degrees. Frakes, who plays Riker, is undimmed. Stewart / Picard is an old man, and even though we’re supposed to think well he’s got that robot thing going on now there’s something about season 3 that unwrites the previous two. I don’t know if they planned it like this - first season is a basic story, second season is backstory, third season is complete fan service - but it works. I liked the first two seasons, but oh this third: it’s this and then it’s more and then it’s him and then it’s her and then it’s that and then it’s these and everything assembles and accretes and stacks and coheres. I can’t tell you the number of times I just stood and said oh MY GOD YES ALSO NO! OF COURSE! HOW DID I NOT SEE

What’s remarkable to me is how it makes TNG, the most forward-looking Trek we had, the era of complete serene institutional confidence, feel like the good old days. When everything had been sorted. Threats were great and grave, but there was an instrument of extraordinary strength, merit, character, and competence, ready to meet it. And in the Federation of the third season, that has been compromised by a something that assumes the form of the people everyone trusts, because everyone has assumptions about the institutions.

And the young are the most susceptible. The young are the vector.

Not a metaphor for anything probably.

I tell you, I get verklempt at the closing credits.







It’s 1923. We’re all radio hobbyists today.

Making them is one thing, but selling them? Icing on the cake

Beautiful things. “Every owner of a radio set will need Radiotrons as surely as a phonograph owner needs records.”


NEEDS NEEDLES. It's right there, guys.



Sell Gainadays, and your financial future will be assured. “Your territory may still be open.” Translation, it’s not as big of a thing as we’d like you to think, or we wouldn’t be putting out an open call.



Not what you might think the 20s looked like, if you were new to the era and relied only on vague notions of “Art Deco” sweeping the land. Looks downright ungainly. But: quite the boon for the apartment dweller; this was like having your building wired for cable.



It projects two choirs?

The Radio Reproducer, it was called. Because you like radio, right? It’s all the rage! Well, this baby will reproduce radio.

How is that different from any other record player?

(Blank smile) It’s a radio reproducer!


“You may be lukewarm about store, showroom and office lighting business.”

Meaning, you may be indifferent to the idea of going into the business? That’s completely understandable. You’re a bank clerk.

Get this: “82% light output.”

No idea where the other 18 percent went.

If not a Planetlite, perhaps a Focalite?

It’s externally adjusted. I suppose that means “a wall switch.”

Gawd, the fussiness of the era

Or, if you wish, the elegance.

Millions sold, few left. A stratum of the landfill laid down in 1944 would be thick with these things, their thick cords frayed, the metal bent.

Much better. High 20s here - the notes of new styles are creeping in.

Consider the heft of that lamp base, too. Every household item a murder weapon.

Were they colored? Oh my yes.

Now two ways to chip in!


That'll do for this, but now we return to our survey of forgotten newspapers comics. Back to the 20s. This won't take up the entire year, although it could.



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